As an investor several factors determine whether or not you should invest in a company or business. Some look at profitability, revenue growth, dividend payment, competitiveness, market size etc. before deciding whether to invest.
However, there is one that stands out above many, BRAND VALUE. One of the world’s most followed investors Warren Buffet is known to invest in companies that have strong brand value. House hold names like Coca Cola, IBM, Pocter & Gamble (owners of Gillette, Pampers), Visa, Heinz (makers of tomato ketchup) etc. These companies all have world-renowned products that they sell. Locally we also have companies like Dangote Cement, GT Bank, Zenith Bank, Julius Berger, Mobil, MTN, Globacom as companies with strong brand value.
Why brand value
Warren Buffets believes in buying companies that have what he calls a strong “economic moat”. An economic moat is basically a strong competitive advantage that they have that can’t be easily challenged by new entrants or other competitors. To Warren, companies with strong brand values posses the economic moat that can withstand competition from new entrants. Without a strong brand value the moat perhaps is not there. And to prove just that, he owns shares in 15 of the top 100 most valuable brands in the world and owns 4 in the top 10.
The Nigerian stock exchange also boast of quality local brands in several sectors of the economy. As an investor, a key metric is to seek out companies with strong brand presence that can’t easily be challenged by competition. For example, in the banking sector which companies come to mind as the top three brands? What about construction? Fast moving consumer goods? Are they leveraging on their brand value to increase top and bottom line growth?
It is important to note that, whilst brand value is important it is not an end in itself. You cannot just invest in a company with a strong brand and then go to sleep (ask Union Bank shareholders). Therefore, strong brand value is one of those metrics that you must use to decide which company to invest in.
Five things to consider before securing a loan
It is important to consider these five tips before securing a loan.
Financial security is when you know you do not have to worry about the basic needs of life. It also involves having the courage to comfortably withstand any emergency life throws your way.
The outbreak of COVID-19 was unexpected. Apart from the health implications it caused, the global economy has suffered greatly.
The outbreak of the virus resulted in job losses and business closure. The situation is so worse that even stable sources of income are no longer guaranteed.
As a result, many people have had to reduce their expenses, and the need to seek loans to enable sustainability or survival is on the rise.
While many may consider taking loans to meet their current needs, here are five (5) tips on what to consider before taking that step.
1. The lender
With different financial institutions willing to offer loans, it is crucial to find the right lender. At a critical time, such as this, securing a loan can come at significant risk and cost. It is, therefore, essential to get it from a source that will provide acceptable terms. It could be from a friend, family, community fund or a microfinance bank. Ensure you secure the loan from a lender willing to give you the best possible conditions and a well laid out repayment plan.
2. Do Your Homework
Research is key. Do your homework and be well informed about it. Ensure you have a realistic means of repayment. Look at the viability of the loan and ensure that you have a realistic chance of paying back on its due date.
3. Work Out Your Payment Plan
Many focus on planning on how to spend a loan and determining how much they need to secure. While this is essential, it is equally important to plan on how you will repay a loan. It would be best if you decide whether you will be paying on a weekly or monthly basis. These factors will guide you in choosing a loan with favourable payment terms to avoid unplanned costs.
4. Credit History
Having a good sense of your credit history is also very important. Know your cash flow and be sure of your income and expenses. Know the precision in terms of what you can get and when you can get it, so as to draw up an excellent and reasonable payback strategy.
5. Terms and Conditions
Ensure you read the fine print and understand the various terms and conditions of a loan before signing any legally binding documents, including a personal loan agreement. In some instances, you may find it difficult to understand certain things regarding the loan you are about to secure. Try as much as possible to clarify all doubts before taking the final decision.
Financial strain may not be the sole purpose of taking a loan. However, whatever the reason may be, it is crucial to consider these five tips before securing one.
10 things to adopt in your business to adjust to the new normal
As scary as the thought might be, the new normal might last for a very long time.
Towards the end of 2019, many businesses wrote their plans, strategies and goals for 2020 and were ready to dominate the market. However, the year did not start as many thought it would. The COVID-19 pandemic brought about new ways of doing things, which is now known as the ‘new normal’.
As scary as the thought might be, the new normal might last for a very long time. Therefore, businesses need to find a balance between what worked in the past and what needs to be done to adjust to the new normal. While some businesses were forced to shut down, many businesses had to change their strategy in order to adjust to the new normal.
Any business can survive the pandemic and adjust to the new normal just by pivoting to a new business strategy. As a business owner, you have to think about growth and look for methods you can adopt in your business to adjust to the new normal and remain relevant. Keep reading to discover ten (10) things you can adopt in your business to adjust to the new normal.
1. Accept the changes
The first and most important thing to do for your business to adjust to the new normal is to accept the changes and embrace the new normal. Waiting for things to go back to normal before you continue your business is the wrong move because things might never go back to the way they were.
2. Think Technology
Innovation and the use of technology in businesses have been on the rise, before the pandemic. Technology is the future of the business world. The latest trend since the pandemic started is to replace manpower with technology. With this, the business continues without endangering the lives of the employees.
3. Change your business model
Reinvent your business, align your business strategies with society’s changing needs and develop a low-cost business model that would help you to stay in business while delivering your best.
4. Involve your employees
The business world has reached a level where you have to involve your employees in the decision-making process. This gives them a sense of responsibility and makes them more involved in the growth of the organisation. Involving your employees will help the business to adjust well and experience growth.
5. Focus on your customers
Listen to your customers. Make an effort to meet their increasing demand and take advantage of their changing attitudes and behaviour. You can do this by conducting a survey and requesting feedback. This is the best time to conduct market research and get all the information you need. This way, you would know if you are on the right track.
6. Stay connected
Transitioning from the current state (Covid-19) to recovery state (Post Covid-19) requires staying connected to the outside world. The question; ‘what is working or not working for other businesses?’ should be asked as often as possible.
7. Adopt a mobile strategy
Since the beginning of the pandemic, the majority switched to remote working, which might have brought about a reduction or lack of communication for some businesses. Business owners should work on their communication system during this period by employing a mobile strategy to get employees up and running.
8. Focus on advertisement and marketing
To cut costs, many businesses are cutting their advertising and marketing budgets, so any business that focuses on advertising and marketing will get all the attention it needs now.
9. Collaboration, flexibility and accountability
The best time for flexibility, collaboration and accountability in business is now. Adopting systems such as informal interactions and remote work would help build a flexible, accountable and better workforce. Not only will this make your employees happy, but it will also give your business the exposure it needs.
10. Risk management systems
Businesses should take advantage of this opportunity to set up a risk management system. The pandemic is enough enlightenment for businesses to know that they should put measures in place to identify, assess, monitor and mitigate the impact of risk on their business in future.
If your business has been affected by the pandemic, you can get back on your feet and begin to break new grounds. All you have to do is adjust your business to the new normal by thinking differently and being strategic in all dealings.
5 ways to raise funding for your business
Here are a number of ways to raise funds for your business.
One of the biggest challenges that entrepreneurs face is finding the necessary funds to grow their businesses. Startups have to deal with various costs, while ongoing businesses have to finance growth and working capital. As money does not grow on trees, there are a number of ways to fund your business.
We will love to see your business grow and make huge impacts, which is why we have compiled in this article five concrete ways to raise the money you need for your business.
This means financing your company by scraping together any personal funds you can find.
In many cases, using the money you have instead of borrowing or raising is a great approach. In fact, some entrepreneurs continue to bootstrap until their business is profitable. This can be beneficial because it means you won’t have extensive loans and monthly payments that can weigh you down, and investing some of your own money will usually make investors and lenders more willing to partner with you down the line.
Friends and Family
If your funds are not enough, you can turn to the people closest to you. This is often a good first step before considering external funding. Family members and friends can be easier to persuade than anonymous lenders because they are less likely to demand stringent repayment terms or high-interest rates.
Borrowing from friends and family comes with its own set of risks. If the venture fails, or if it takes much longer than anticipated to repay the loan, your relationships can suffer.
Before you ask your friends and family for money, you should have a business plan ready. This way, you can explain to them exactly what you are doing and how you will make money. Also, ensure that you have all terms of the loan written out. That includes how much you are getting, the amount of interest charged, and the terms and deadline of repayment.
Angel investors are groups or individuals who invest their own money into other people’s businesses. They stand out because they tend to invest in companies at earlier stages of growth and are always on the lookout for the next business to invest in. Many of the biggest tech companies today, including Google and Yahoo, were funded by angel investors. Typically, an angel investor is one who is successful in a particular industry and is looking for new opportunities within that same industry, or other industries. Not only can angel investors offer financing to get your business off the ground, but some may also choose to guide you. They may also leverage their existing contacts within an industry to open doors for your business.
Businesses have been using the internet to market and sell things since the 1990s. However, over the last decade, the web has become a new source of financing as well. With this, you can get funding from websites where investors can support your business no matter where they are in the world.
You will be required to set up a campaign and name a target amount of money you want to raise, as well as create perks for donors who pledge a certain amount of money, such as early access to products, discounts, and so on. You then raise money for the campaign over a specified time. Some websites you would use for this financing method are Kickstarter, GoFundMe, Indiegogo, Crowdrise, and many others.
Loans can be gotten from banks or other financial institutions. This method is one of the oldest, although many do not prefer it.
To get loans, you might be required to show that you’ve started gaining traction and making money (and that a loan would help you earn even more). You may also need to present a well-detailed business plan. Your business’ financial projections give lenders the details needed to be sure of the income you would have to repay loans, including interests. Usually, bank loans do have legal regulations, which will have to be followed accordingly.
In conclusion, entrepreneurs must weigh the benefits and downsides of available funding options and determine which one provides the greatest flexibility at the least cost. There are many options for financing your business, so do not get discouraged if one does not work out. By demonstrating due diligence and resourcefulness, you can easily raise the capital you need to move your business to the next level.